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Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews among 10 Sri Lankan players to opt out of Pakistan tour over security concerns

Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and experienced players Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews are among the top ten players who have chosen to opt out of his side’s upcoming tour to Pakistan citing security concerns. 

Sri Lanka are due to visit Pakistan for three ODIs and as many T20Is in September-October in 2019, thus marking the first international action in the country in last 18 months. 

On Monday, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) held a meeting with players, who were chosen as part of a preliminary squad to select the team, to discuss security arrangements for the tour. 

During the meeting, the players were informed about the security situation in Pakistan and the measures the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) plans to take for the safety and security of the players during the tour. 

“The meeting was aimed at informing the players about the security arrangements, during the forthcoming tour and also to find out their ‘decision’ (either taking part or not), before selectors sit for the selection of squads for the ODI and T20I series,” the SLC said in a press release. 

“Former Sri Lanka Air Force Commander, Marshal Air Roshan Goonetileke, who is the Chief Security Advisor of the SLC, briefed the players about the security situation in Pakistan and the security arrangements PCB plans on implementing during Sri Lanka team’s tour of that country, whilst Chairman of the National Selection Panel Asantha De Mel, explained about the selection policy for future tours,” the statement from SLC added. 

Marshal Air Goonetileke further informed that Sri Lankan players would be given the freedom to decide on either taking part or not in the forthcoming Pakistan tour.

Besides Karunarantne, Malinga and Mathews, the other players who have opted out of the Pakistan tour for limited-over fixtures are Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Suranga Lakmal and Dinesh Chandimal. 

Meanwhile, Kusal Mendis is not available for selection due to an injury he suffered during the recent series against New Zealand.

In August, Sri Lanka agreed to tour Pakistan for limited-over fixtures while the two-match Test series between the two sides was pushed to December following a ‘phone discussion between PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani and SLC President Shammi Silva on Friday.

According to the original schedule, Pakistan were scheduled to host Sri Lanka for two World Test Championship matches in October before the visitors return for limited-over fixtures in late December.

The Sri Lanka cricket team will arrive in Karachi on September 25 where it will play three ODIs on September 27, September 29 and October 2. The two sides will then head into Lahore, which will host three T20Is on October 5, 7 and 9.

The PCB has been continuously stepping up its efforts for restoring international cricket in the country since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka`s team bus in Lahore which left six security personnel and two civilians dead. The country has successfully hosted Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches, an ICC World XI in 2017 and West Indies in 2018 and Sri Lanka for a one-off T20 in 2017.  

Source: Zee News